U.S. second baseman Ian Kinsler makes a play against Japan on Tuesday in the World Baseball Classic. Kinsler appears to not be a fan of flamboyant displays of passion in baseball. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Hey, hot take machines: chill out and enjoy the ballgame.
Or, if you want to chew on some intriguing comments, at least check out what Adam Jones said. Lay off Ian Kinsler, who said nothing controversial or even all that compelling.
This is the fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic. Every WBC enables fans in the United States to enjoy the flair with which other countries play ball — bat flips, chest bumps, wild gestures, and the like. It demands attention. It’s fun, absolutely and undeniably.
But there is no one right way to play the game, any more than there is one right way to determine the most valuable player. This is what set the outrage industry afire Wednesday afternoon:
“I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler told the New York Times.
“That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”
In San Diego, when the U.S. faced Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in pool play, Jones said much the same thing.
“We are very, very emotional, very passionate,” he said. “We just exude it in a little different way.
“I love it when you see the Dominican and Venezuelan teams, Puerto Rican teams jump all over. I love when you show a passion for something that you really enjoy doing. That shows that you care. … We just show our emotions in a tad bit different way. But it’s no disrespect to any other country and how they show it, because at the end of the day you’re playing a game, and you should play the game with passion.”
If you truly believe that Latin flair is the only way to play, then you ought to be interested in why Jones believes it ought not to play too often once the major league season starts.
“You have to take it with a grain of salt,” Jones said. “You know, the bat flips that you see in the WBC, that’s not going to happen during the season, unless it’s certain people — Miggy [Miguel Cabrera], [Adrian] Beltre, [Nelson] Cruz, the big dogs, they can do that kind of stuff because they’ve earned that right.
“But some of the stuff I’ve seen, it’s probably not going to happen in the regular season. But, hey, this is the tournament for it to happen. If you’re going to do it, do it now and do it in winter ball.
“But I think the younger guys who have exemplified a little more perro caliente [hot dog], a little more of that, they know during the regular season, they have to respect the major league pitcher on the mound a little bit more.”
Should a player have to earn the right to play with flair? Hot takes welcome.